The Night Phish Caught Fire

10.22.10 - Providence (Jim Rizzo)

Phish turned a corner in North Charleston, South Carolina on October 16 this year. After a three-night blast off in Broomfield, Colorado, Phish had yet to drop a show that left everyone in the venue in in blissful disarray. While I, personally, thought the second and third nights of Colorado were stellar nights of Phish, the haters still did their hating, and the detractors still detracted. But after the second show in South Carolina, there was none such debate. Sometimes Phish drops objective bombs that satiate everyone with their song choice, impeccable flow, and jamming style, and Saturday in North Charleston was one of these nights. Igniting the band in earnest, this show sparked the most impressive week of tour as the band took off for their old stomping grounds of the Northeast.

Following a tight, song-based affair on Saturday, Phish came out with something extra in the finale of their southern double-dip. From this night forward the band never looked back, torching the rest of their tour and changing the paradigm of modern day Phish. Visiting the North Charleston Coliseum for the first time since Fall ’96 – another transitional period in Phish’s career – the band returned to the intimate arena with a handful of shows already under their belt, and they left via rocket boosters to Augusta and beyond.

10.22.10 (J.Rizzo

Using two songs to warm up the room, a special sense enveloped the evening with the first “Curtain (With)” of the year. Making it through two legs of summer without dropping their old-school opus, when Phish draped “With” over the indoor crowd, the music transformed into a crystalline reality. Patiently pushing the piece through soaring melodic planes, Trey oozed emotion through only the third song of the show. But the turning point of the night, and subsequently the tour, transpired in a surprise first-set “Sand.” Dusting off the song for the first time of tour, the band tore apart the usually-Trey led piece with notably more democratic jamming. The linear groove gained angles while each band member joined in the fray, and in front of our eyes “Sand” began to evolve. No longer a one-dimensional platform for guitar annihilation, a four-part conversation resulted in a scintillating piece of Phish. Apparently the band agreed as “Sand” showed up in the second set only two nights later in Utica, and again in Atlantic City, becoming a defining piece of season.

This first-set peak in Charleston seemed to awaken the band to their current abilities as they built a silky “Limb By Limb” before busting out the technical “Uncle Pen” and an impressive, hard-edged piece of improv in “Pebbles and Marbles.” Before anyone could catch their breath, the set was ending with “Cavern.” But in one of Phish’s classic double-closers, Fishman initiated the cymbal hits of “David Bowie,” another emerging monster of Fall. All of this top-notch playing in the first set foreshadowed something large to conclude the weekend, and when all was said and done, everyone would leave the same page. That’s what stellar shows will do.

10.22.10 - Providence, RI (Jim Rizzo)

Set two flowed like divine liquid from beginning to end – one of those frames that rolled off your tongue naturally without having to grasp for filler songs – there weren’t any. In terms of cohesion and top-to-bottom flow, few sets – if any – matched the seven-piece puzzle in South Carolina. Phish crafted a frame where everything fell into place – from the surprise “Crosseyed” opener the “2001 > Tweezer > Show of Life, YEM” closing sequence. With unparalleled artistry and whole lot of groove the band played a can’t-miss set that every Phish fan could enjoy. “Crosseyed” traversed three separate planes en route to an extensive, rock-turned-ambient jaunt. The explosive opener set the tone for the set whose only exhale came in a well-placed “Dirt” right after “Crosseyed.” The scintillating peak of a nearly note-perfect version of “Fluffhead” had the venue unified and on cloud nine out as the band took an ambient turn into the intro of “2001.” Blasting off into the most significant modern version up to that point, Phish had the audience popping off as the space-grooves engulfed the arena. Extending this version into a legitimate centerpiece with smashing rhythmic interplay, when the band spilled into “Tweezer” the set took on comic book status.

10.22.10 (J.Rizzo)

In a tour that was light on “Tweezer” this Charleston version turned out to be the only legitimate second-setter of Fall. Littered with accents and playful licks, even the composed section of this version carried an extra zest. Instead of splashing into a pool of lucid grooves, Trey growled out of the gates into a thick, murky jam that carried the distinct vibe of the underworld. But when he switched tones, the band moved into a sparser dance excursion featuring bass grenades and punctuated clav lines that added main ideas to the whole. Taking the jam through another change into a more mechanical texture, the band locked into heavier patterns that continued the energetic interplay that underlined the entire evening. The only “Tweezer” of tour with gnarling, second-set teeth came in the fantastic context of this all-star set. And when the band slid into “Show of Life,” the first-ever combination of these songs felt like a gift wrapped present.

10.31.10 (M.Stein)

And what better piece to drop at the end of a classic set than a fresh, whole-band “YEM” to provide one last improvisational joyride in a set filled with them. Jumping off the trampolines into a minimalist funk canvas, the band invoked the dancing spirit as the swanky grooves overtook the audience. One had to lack a pulse to not be moved by this music, and coming at the end of a scorching set of groove-based playing, this “YEM” felt like a dip in the pool after sitting in the hot tub for a half an hour. Cooled off and completely in sync, Phish collectively slammed down a version that shied from cliche patterns for the duration, giving way to a final guitar peak only at the very top to cap things off.

Phish had played one of those sets that leaves you standing and staring amidst blissed out awareness; this one felt different than any show thus far on tour. Never losing focus from note one – and never wavering for a millisecond in the second set – Phish left their indelible stamp in South Carolina. The band went on to play other stellar shows and more impressive jams throughout the fall, but no frames fit together quite as nicely as Charleston’s second set. After Phish finalized the evening with “Quinn The Eskimo” and “Tweezer Reprise,” everyone left smiling and without debate; it was one of those are nights.


Jam of the Day:

2001 > Tweezer” 10.16.10 II

The centerpiece of Saturday night’s second set in North Charleston, South Carolina.




10.16.10 North Charleston Coliseum, South Carolina

FLAC Torrent via etree, Mp3 Torrent, Megaupload < Links

Charleston Poster

Here is the the show that sparked Fall Tour in proper; a two-set smoker with highlights galore and a gorgeous second frame.

I: Kill Devil Falls, Guelah Papyrus, The Curtain With > The Mango Song > Sand, Limb By Limb, Sneakin’ Sally through the Alley, Uncle Pen, Pebbles and Marbles, Cavern > David Bowie

II: Crosseyed and Painless, Dirt,  Fluffhead, Also Sprach Zarathustra > Tweezer > Show of Life, You Enjoy Myself

E: I Been Around, Quinn the Eskimo, Tweezer Reprise

Source: Schoeps mk41> KC5> M222> NT222> Aeta PSP-3> SD 744t (Taper – Taylorc)


515 Responses to “The Night Phish Caught Fire”

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  1. Tzara's Ghost Says:

    Just got back from Gordon show, good stuff. Timer sighting, got a shout out from Cactus. Though it didn’t sound like he really remembered him. Had a good time with summer98 and Bandito. And, 1st?

  2. Selector J Says:

    Sounds like a blast Tzara’s. I gotta think Mike remembers zzyzx. If there were one fan that were impossible to forget…

  3. Selector J Says:

    QM discussion was hetty. Woke up at 3am dreaming about it…

    I think some of the meaning is lost in translation with the physics jargon. Upon re-reading, seems like those violations of Bell’s inequality discussed in the blurb were not ruling out a cause but rather narrowing down what that cause may be.

    Weird rules of causality certainly seem to apply but the assumption is that there is something causing those new rules to be functional.

    In other words, why do all these different equations work? How do they fit together? Or alternatively, why do they not fit together?
    Seems like those questions haven’t been abandoned.

    Basically, in parts of QM it is not yet understood how causality works– not that it doesn’t exist. THat’s what I got at least.

  4. WIFAN Says:

    Great stuff MM, I agree the Charleston show is great, but thanks for giving some love to the last two night in CO. I thought Monday night was fantastic and to take a note from Willowed I actually did get a bit misty eyed during the end of that first set. Tuesday only came up short by a bit, but was still unreal. Although the venue(1st Bank Center) was a bit stale, I personally think it actually had some great sound that only got better as the 3 day stand went on. The thing is, to be at my first truly GA Phish show was truly the highlight of my 2010. Great write up as usual, thanks again.

  5. ThePigSong Says:

    Great write up this morning! I loaded up this show yesterday for the train ride home this morning, can’t get offwork soon enough!

  6. ThePigSong Says:

    also, kudos to miner for your ability to hear each show for what it’s worth and not giving into hype or hate.

    Keep calling ’em like you see ’em!

  7. CrazyLittleKid Says:

    You know it’s a killer set when the near-flawless Fluffhead between Dirt and 2001 gets nary a mention

  8. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    mornin’ all

    nice piece, miner. definitely a night where it all clicked. it is also nice to be able to say that it wasn’t the only one this fall!

    be sure to hug a veteran today, everyone. but only if they are okay with it. randomly hugging strangers isn’t looked on too fondly in some parts of this country.

  9. EL Duderino Says:

    SC 2 was the best show I personally witnessed since their return…

    Great weekend, great location, great people!

  10. McGGGGG Says:

    and with extra accoutrements!!!

  11. neemor Says:

    “The band went on to play other stellar shows and more impressive jams throughout the fall, but no frames fit together quite as nicely as Charleston’s second set.”
    ^ bold statement.

    And the Dude abides.

  12. Selector J Says:

    reggae a gwaan pon de radio…
    listen w/ 1 click

  13. Type III Jamming Personality Disorder Says:

    figures you would play some uhuru right as I jumped on. thanks!

  14. lastwaltzer Says:

    Loved the whole first set and the 2001>tweezer is definitely the stand out.

  15. Gavinsdad Says:

    Guess who’s coming to dinnnah…Gavins Dadlock…whoaa…ooohhh

  16. tela'smuff Says:

    miner – your review has come at a great time. i’ll spare the story, but i could use some positive vibes, and your review has captured what was the best time i’ve had at a show since the Moby Dick show in 2000. Like you said, SC2 may not have had the best indivual jams, or crazy segue fests, but the flow of the set is still the best of tour. and that first set belongs in in the conversation as well. Thanks Miner!!

    and that blue pic of Trey from 10-31-10 looks like the Trey from the 90’s!! Crazy!

  17. BTB Says:

    Trey with beer gut, martian shirt and white skateboard kicks is the best. Dood totally lived on a tour bus 8)

  18. lastwaltzer Says:


    I noticed your absence the other day, hope everything works out.

  19. Kurt from Indy Says:

    mark it 8 dude, sc2 was the shit, and i loved the people as well, but fuck sweet tea

  20. c0wfunk Says:

    from the link above: “giving the uneasy consequence that reality does not exist when we are not observing it”

    uneasy indeed. This is something, while there may be equations etc behind it, always comes off as insufferably arrogant to me.

    Maybe it’s just saying that to study reality, consciousness is required. But “does not exist without US” is just crazy talk.

  21. c0wfunk Says:

    early morning physics after being up til 3:30 coding. Yikes.

  22. Guyute711 Says:

    Walked out of sc2 saying that I felt bad for anyone going to the rest of the tour because they missed the best show. The statement may not be entirely accurate but that was the frame of mind I was in and I think the show is right up there with the best of tour.

  23. phoammhead Says:

    nice write up Mr.Miner – gotta agree that SC2 was a scorcher – loved it!

    i was re-re-re-listening – re-re-re-re – you get the point – to this show just the other day and i was thinking the same thing – Sand is some kind of turning point . . .

    i think everyone on here knows what i think about that C&P by now – one of my favorite segments of fall tour.

    we win!


  24. EL Duderino Says:

    On this day in Rock and Roll:
    Barry Oakley:

    Dies in a motorcycle accident on the same corner as Duane Allman and his motorcycle accident one year later…

  25. SillyWilly Says:

    Morning, kids.

    Pretty funny to come to the ol’ laptop and see that some of you (Selector J, Cowfunk) were thinking about the QM discussion all night, too.

    I reconciled my truth vs. “truth” debate – and concluded that I maintain my position that QM is “true” in several planes such as a purely physical perspective. But, in other planes, like metaphysics it simply can’t be proven true.

    The point, here, being that in a metaphysical realm (think Plato or Christianity), QM will never be able to prove that there isn’t an outside cause upholding QM.

    In the end, while you cannot disprove QM physically or scientifically (and Selector J is proving that there is still big debate about the causality issue) the choice is yours whether to leave it at a purely scientific perspective or whether you need a metaphysical quality of truth behind it.

    So to me, when someone says QM is simply true, what they are really saying is it is true scientifically and they have chosen to limit their reality to science. (I am one of these people, but the fact remains…We will never know if there isn’t a metaphysical quality behind causality)

    So, what is true for a scientist is not necessarily true to the Platonic metaphysicist, or the Aboriginal shaman, or Father O’Reilly in your neighborhood parish.

    The point always being recognize the perspective you are endorsing for what it is. It may be more right than another perspective, but never completely true or completely false. And while a perspective might be able to explain “reality” within its perspective, you can always move outside of that perspective and then it fails to explain “reality.”

    P.S: Im not ashhaaaaa-aaaaameed, Im not ashaaaaaaammmmeeeeddd to shake up my knots!

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